• WordNet 3.6
    • adj plaintive expressing sorrow
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Plaintive Expressive of sorrow or melancholy; mournful; sad. "The most plaintive ditty."
    • Plaintive Repining; complaining; lamenting.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • plaintive Lamenting; complaining; giving utterance to sorrow or grief; repining.
    • plaintive Expressive of sorrow or melancholy; mournful; sad: said of things: as, a plaintive sound; a plaintive air; a plaintive song.
    • plaintive Synonyms Plaintive, Querulous, woful, rueful. Plaintive and querulous agree in expressing weakness. He who is querulous is ready to find fault over trivial matters, and in a weak, captious, tired way; there is a tone recognized as querlous. Plaintive is rarely said of persons; a plaintive tone or utterance conveys a subdued regret or lamentation : as, the plaintive note of the mourning dove. See petulant.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Plaintive complaining: expressing sorrow: sad
    • ***


  • Lydia M. Child
    “The eye of genius has always a plaintive expression, and its natural language is pathos.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. plaintif,. See Plaintiff (n.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. pleinte (Fr. plainte)—L. planctusplangĕre, planctum, to lament.


In literature:

Jeremiah was not bold and stern, like Elijah, but retiring, plaintive, mournful, tender.
"Beacon Lights of History, Volume II" by John Lord
His letters after this are full of pathos and plaintive sadness.
"Beacon Lights of History, Volume XIII" by John Lord
From higher up, at the level of the hidden bed, came the regular plaintive respiration of Sarah Gailey.
"Hilda Lessways" by Arnold Bennett
As dusk came on, he would every now and then howl plaintively.
"Christmas Eve on Lonesome and Other Stories" by John Fox, Jr.
Of street music there was none, though once an old couple wailing a plaintive duet passed under our windows.
"A Versailles Christmas-Tide" by Mary Stuart Boyd
They have a wild, plaintive song, with swelling cadences and abrupt stops.
"Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier" by James Inglis
Like the brilliant Ovid, when he was banished to the frozen wilds of Tomi, Seneca vented his anguish in plaintive wailing and bitter verse.
"Seekers after God" by Frederic William Farrar
Then they allowed their voices to die away in soft, plaintive tones, while their action corresponded thereto.
"The Dog Crusoe and His Master" by Robert Michael Ballantyne
No, it was a little plaintive air, dimly familiar, Ken thought.
"The Happy Venture" by Edith Ballinger Price
It will only plead at first to my friends in the still conscious plaintiveness of a young and unhardened beggar.
"Clarissa, Volume 6 (of 9)" by Samuel Richardson

In poetry:

Then, in sweetness more than mortal,
Sang a voice a plaintive air,
As we pass’d the church’s portal,
Lo, a ghostly form stood there!
"The Violet-Gatherer (From The Danish Of Oehlenslaeger)" by George Borrow
Thou promised'st to hear my plaintive cry,
Whene'er I call'd to thee in misery,
To thee, O Lord! I daily call amain:
O rescue me from ev'ry woe and pain!
"A Prayer, Against The Oppression Of One's Foe. " by Rees Prichard
O nightingale, best poet of the grove,
That plaintive strain can ne'er belong to thee,
Blessed in the full possession of thy love:
O lend that strain, sweet Nighingale, to me!
"To The Nightingale" by James Thomson
Born near the scene for Kenelm's fate renown'd,
I take my plaintive reed, and range the grove,
And raise my lay, and bid the rocks resound
The savage force of empire, and of love.
"Elegy XXIII. Reflections Suggested" by William Shenstone
At last he merely raised his head,
To see the steamers passing by,
Then sank again upon his bed,
And heaved a long-drawn, plaintive sigh;
For how could one explain
That I would come again?
"Leo" by John Lawson Stoddard
Robin is a singer; sweet and pure and clear
Are the notes he warbles from his covert near;
Softly, oh! how softly, at the sunset's glow
Does he chant his vespers, plaintive, sweet, and low.
"Amityville" by Jared Barhite

In news:

Seattle chamber rock band, Carissa 's Wierd gently float dual harmonies over plaintive violin, resonant piano and soft guitars.
KAZAN, Russia, Nov 5— Summoned by a familiar, plaintive call, young men dazed from studying stumble from their dorm rooms with slippers on their feet and prayer on their minds.
"I miss my cigar smokers," Kim Owens, regional manager of Del Frisco's Double Eagle , said plaintively a couple of weeks ago in responding to why the steakhouse in Las Vegas was building a cigar patio.
"I miss my cigar smokers," Kim Owens, regional manager of Del Frisco's Double Eagle, said plaintively a couple of weeks ago in responding to why the steakhouse in Las Vegas was building a cigar patio.
Beguiling Irish rhythms compete with plaintive airs.
Why Am I Still Single?—the plaintive title of matchmaker Siggy Flicker 's new VH1 show—happens to be the world's biggest no-brainer for me: Because I want to be.
Let me put it this way: If gambling were the preacher's daughter, the NFL would knock her up, raise its hands plaintively as if it had never touched her - and then go to church to pray for her unborn child.
TMI is the plaintive text message from a teen whose friend tells more than anybody really wants to know.
'These animals make a peculiarly plaintive cry when molested in any way': 1901's amazing, disturbing Living Animals of the World.
Camilia Terry, mother who was arrested after body of 3-year-old Emilliano Terry found at trash station, posted plaintive online videos.
Making a strong, plaintive case for preventive care.
Barack Obama Is Your New Plaintive Boyfriend.
A Plaintive Note Heard in a Heartbeat.
A string of record trade deficits — including 2006's — serves as a plaintive plea for Congress to adopt new policies.
Pleasant, plaintive notes have you at ease while an unsettling sense of something rougher is growing louder with the guitar distortion.